Bridge and Tower of Ucanha

The river Varosa, strarting in the Tarouca municipallity, has to unite the banks of the main watercourse, several bridges of medieval origin in places of great natural beauty.
The most striking is undoubtedly the Ucanha bridge, whose origins date back probably to the Roman period. The proof of its antiquity is to be cited as old already before 1146, in the letter of the donation of the Gouviães parish by D. Afonso Henriques to his Monteiro-Mor, Paulo Cortês.

However in the 12th century, was built on the forehead of the right bank (where is now the village of Ucanha, so-called "Vila" da Ponte,  being Ucanha  the site that  began to be populate there), one fitted arch with the door, and on it, a building to store the fees charged in  that arc by the landlord of the area (the monastery of Salzedas from 1155 to 1156) to those who come in it, following the Roman road, which is an important route to Lamego, so there was fixed a population of officials in charge of collecting the amounts of tolls, being built facilities and homes.

The tower is a square base, with three floors. Below the tower, in the building itself, there`s a vaulted arch that gives the village crossing to the bridge. In the face of the tower, next to the village, and on the right, it is seen an inscription somewhat worn in which you can still read "This work was order to be made by D. Fernando abad ..." an inscription that is written in a kind of "edicula "and cut vertically by an abbatial crosier. Abbot D. Fernando, who is considered here, have ruled Salzedas from 1453 to 1474, the same period of time   when the tower was rebuilt.

The bottom of the tower, as well as the roman arc and crossing tunnel, have all the expression of a Romanesque building from the twelfth century.

The bridge in its original tower structure with one floor, worked with the barrier tax or toll. Documents of 1315 and 1318 determine the obligatory passage on the bridge and respective payment, a practice that only came to be abolished in the reign of King Manuel I in the year of 1504.
There is no doubt of the importance of this route of passage since the antiquity. Because of this there was a long question from 1310 to 1320, in which intervenes the former municipality of Castro Rei - Tarouca – that have always wanted and got, even though temporarily, passing through the village, having as opponents the Salzedas monastery, that defended the compulsory passing through the bridge and tower of Cucanha over the River Varosa.

The Tarouca Municipality invites you to discover the Varosa Valley.


Location: Tarouca
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